11/7/11

Will economic crisis drive up private healthcare?

Is public sector payment for health care on the decline?  This year's National Health Expenditures Trends suggests economic recession can drive up private payment for health care (p.9):
The average annual rate of growth in public-sector health expenditure between 1975 and 1991 was 11.0%. There was a pronounced change in public-sector expenditure trends following the 1990-to-1992 recession. During this period, governments introduced fiscal restraint measures, which affected spending for health and social programs. Private-sector growth rates were considerably higher than the public-sector rates during this period and, as a result, the private-sector share of total health expenditure increased to 29.9% by 1997; it has remained stable since then. The private-sector share is estimated to be 29.7% in 2011.
We may be about to see another decline in the public sector's share. As in 1990-2, we are facing economic troubles and, as in the period after 1990-2, we are facing serious constraints on public sector funding.  Since the advent of the most recent economic crisis, the public sector share has begun to slowly decline.

Of all the provinces, Ontario continues to have the highest portion of private payment for healthcare -- at 32.5%.

The sub-sectors with the most public sector funding are physician services (98.4%), hospitals (90.8%), and public health (100%).  Other sectors get more from private sources: e.g. Drugs (at 61%) and other health care professionals (at 91.8%) get most of their cash from private sources.


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